For the past two decades it has never been just another birthday for Greenpeace campaigner Steve Sawyer.
Mr Sawyer, who turned 49 yesterday, rose before dawn in the Far North to join those marking the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.
It was late at night on his 29th birthday when the Greenpeace flagship was bombed in Auckland's Waitemata harbour on order from France, killing Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira.
Earlier that evening the crew and guests had helped Mr Sawyer, who was then campaign co-ordinator, to celebrate with a chocolate cake decorated with a rainbow.
At Whangaroa harbour yesterday, Mr Sawyer was on board the second Rainbow Warrior that set out in early morning fog for Matauri Bay, where its namesake lies on the seabed, scuttled in 1987 as a memorial.
"When the sun came up it burned off the fog and it was a beautiful morning, quite magical."
With about six other boats and a dozen kayakers in attendance, a marble sculpture of a dove with an olive branch was lowered into the sea, guided 25m down by four divers, including the Rainbow Warrior skipper Peter Willcox and Labour MP Dover Samuels.
On the ship, about 100 people cast flowers and greenery and the Rainbow Warrior carried the banner message "NZ: proud to be nuclear-free".
Present were former crew-members along with Pereira's daughter, Marelle, and Rongelap Atoll Senator Abacca Anjan-Maddison, who was evacuated from her Marshall Islands home in 1985 with the help of the Rainbow Warrior on its last mission.
"We share the sorrow and loss of the Rainbow Warrior after she transported our community to Majeto in 1985," she said.
The atoll had been contaminated by the US nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll three decades earlier.
Other commemorations round the world yesterday included one at Paris, where more than 500 people from 14 countries came together to create a rainbow of hope and peace, and Sydney, where Greenpeace supporters held a lantern ceremony at Maroubra beach.
Toronto and Vancouver have declared July 10, 2005, Rainbow Warrior Day.
At 11.48pm, the time the first limpet mine blew up, there was a two-minute silence at the Rainbow Warrior Tribute Concert in Auckland.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said at a Greenpeace reception in Auckland last night that the bombing was "calculated murder".
She said the nuclear-free cause remained necessary and relevant. The combination of nuclear generation and terrorism meant New Zealand did not want nuclear-powered ships in its harbours.